From The Editor | March 26, 2009

RFID Search & Rescue

The real-time location capabilities of RFID (radio frequency identification) technologies can help you weather the current economic storm.

Integrated Solutions, April 2009

In a new book titled RFID: Improving The Customer Experience, author Mickey Brazeal refers to RFID as a "search engine for things" in the opening chapter. In other words, just as Internet search engines allow you to quickly identify, locate, and congregate widely dispersed information on a specific topic, RFID allows you to do the same with your valuable corporate assets. Not only is this a cool way to think about how RFID works and the efficiencies the technology can deliver, it may also help open your eyes to how RFID can save you money in today's tough economy.

For example, think of how much time you and your employees dedicated to searching for business information prior to the dawn of search engines and intranets. Valuable time (and money) was wasted manually sifting through file cabinets, journals, newspapers, etc. to find the data needed to move a project forward. Plus, vital information may never have been considered or reviewed because there was no easy way for you to know it even existed. This model of inefficiency is still the norm when it comes to how most businesses manage their assets. Whether it's infusion pumps, corporate laptops, assembly parts and tools, product inventory, or a fleet of service vehicles — most companies don't have a surefire system for securing location information and other real-time data for their key business assets. Why is this a problem? Well, much like the pre-search engine era, you and your employees are wasting time searching for the items you need to do your jobs. Plus, you have no way of knowing when key items are in use, have gone missing, or have been stolen. This lost productivity and capital is not only unnecessary, it could prove disastrous in recessionary times.

RFID technologies can help you gain control of your corporate assets and begin saving your business money almost immediately. The following is a list of the most common ways RFID is delivering a solid ROI to today's businesses:

Asset Tracking — Using RFID to track key corporate assets can deliver a fast ROI because you can increase productivity by quickly finding the assets you need to do your job. This can also help reduce or eliminate instances where you may be forced to rent or purchase new equipment to replace missing assets.

Inventory Management — Manufacturers, retailers, and distributors can use RFID to track supplies and finished goods. Not only can RFID help you pinpoint the location and status of key raw materials (ensuring they are where they are supposed to be), it can also help you set proper inventory levels, reducing instances of out-of-stocks or obsolete inventory.

For More Info.. For a real-world example of the monetary benefits of asset tracking, visit

Parts Management — RFID can help you ensure the right parts are where they need to be on a manufacturing assembly line. This reduces downtime and increases plant production.

Vehicle Tracking — RFID can be used to monitor fleets of cars and trucks, ensuring shipments and services are delivered on time, while eliminating costly manual processes.

As you walk the show floor at RFID Journal LIVE! this month, keep these cost-saving RFID applications in mind, and don't let the economy stifle a potentially business-saving technology investment. Just think of where your business would be without search engines.